Egyptian Women in Film: Perspectives from 1970 to Today
Atteyat al-Abnoudi is called in Egypt “the mother of documentary”. At a time when cinema was seen by the government as a political weapon of choice, her decision to film the Egyptian people in their hard-working and precarious daily lives was a scandal. The poetic realism of her cinema inspired generations of documentary filmmakers. This programme is interested in the way women have looked at the Egyptian people and its struggle, yesterday and today.
The sense of community is particularly strong in Cairo’s poor, working-class neighbourhoods, where toil is hard and perspectives are hazy. This first session echoes the Cairo of Atteyat al-Abnoudi’s first two films, which show the poetry in the gesture of the craftsmen and the artists, and the daily life of the inhabitants of the Rod el-Farag neighbourhood, filmed today by Reem Saleh still fighting for their dignity.
In an authoritarian country strongly marked by social inequalities, struggle is a daily occurrence. By crossing the portrait of two women, one filmed by Atteyat al-Abnoudi in the rural Delta region in 1983, the other being Nada Riyadh herself who questions her future in a post-revolutionary Alexandria adrift, this session introduces the need to keep resisting and fighting the state of things.
Hope is in the future, and the future is in the youth. From the crossed views of Atteyat al-Abnoudi, Nabiha Lotfi and Nadine Salib, this session proposes three films that question both the youth as the symbolic core of the resistance and the pressure on the shoulders of mothers in a strong patriarchal society, still mainly based on the balance of the family.